It is quite rare to see a government figure comment on a legal case. Well, this time you actually have the Law Minister K Shanmugam coming out to speak about the City Harvest Case which saw the jail terms of the six convicted leaders more or less halved after an appeal.
And he had rather strong words: “The matter is not over yet…the sentences in our (Government) view, were too low.”
Much has been reported by the mainstream media about the technicalities of the case which Minister Shanmugam spoke about. But one point stood out.
He acknowledged that there are differing views on the judgement, as everyone has a right to discuss and criticise judgments. But he cautioned that people “should abstain from abusing the judges themselves.”
“Judges decide based on the facts before them, and set out the reasons. If we don’t agree, we take it further, and where necessary, we change the law through parliament.”
Here’s why he had to say this: this judgement can and may set a precedent for other cases, especially corruption cases, hence there was a need for the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) to consider taking further steps in the case.
This underscores the government’s zero-tolerance for corruption. And if this case sets a precedence, it might allow future cases to receive such a judgement as well.
Singapore can only be the only Asian country in the Top 10 least-corrupt country because of its intolerance for corruption. Something we can all be proud of.
But one thing’s for sure. The AGC will be looking into the case and giving the government it’s views by early next week and it has “good people at the top, and they should be able to deal with it”, as what Minister Shanmugam assured.
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